Creating Ring Tones to a Different Tune
By Yuki Noguchi
Having music on your phone is
great, but after spending $1 or so to download a song online, why pay nearly $2
for a ring tone that's only part of the song?
It's a good question, to which there is a cheaper answer: Make your own ring
tone, using clips of your favorite songs in your personal music library
downloaded directly to your cell phone.
It's almost too easy to make your own ring tone -- and, eventually, that could
leave your wireless carrier worried about the money it makes by selling ring
tones over the phone.
There are two ways music lovers can download their favorite tunes to their
phones. The first involves connecting the computer to the phone via a USB cord
-- but for that you need an advanced phone, such as the Palm Treo.
The other way involves third-party software that sends ring tones over the air,
via text message.
Xingtone and Ringtone Media Studio -- software suites sold online or in retail
stores for just under $20 -- are among those that allow you to tap into your
music library to make an unlimited number of ring tones.
"Why should you have to pay your carrier for a 15-second clip of a song you
already own?" asked Richard Miles, vice president of sales and marketing for
Xingtone Inc., the Los Angeles company that boasts hundreds of thousands of
Aside from cost, the other benefit of the software is the customization of the
ring tone. The software acts like an editing system, enabling users to digitally
remaster sounds and songs. Caches of music stored on CDs and MP3 files are
potential ring-tone material. It's also possible to record your voice or someone
else's and use that audio clip as a ring tone.
And even if your favorite song is in your wireless carrier's catalogue, the
software allows you to pick which clip of the song you want on your phone --
maybe the opening seconds, the guitar solo halfway through or a particular rap
segment at the end.
Xingtone works on about 150 makes and models of phones and only on those that
are capable of playing real music, not the polyphonic beeping facsimiles of
music. The phones must also have basic text-messaging capabilities and Internet
access to retrieve the ring-tone file.
Once installed on the computer -- Xingtone offers versions for PCs and Macs--
the software prompts users for a phone number, cellular carrier and phone model.
The software allows users to select the exact part of the song or recording to
download onto the phone, then sends the snippet to the Internet and sends a text
message with the Web address of that snippet to the user.